Support Local Businesses, No Chains in Ojai

no_chainsBack in mid-2006 I created a wiki to document a community effort to restrict formula businesses (aka-chains) in Ojai, California. We were ultimately successful on November 27, 2007 with the passage of Ordinance #798. A few years later I shut down the wiki because it was requiring too much effort on my part to maintain and I felt like we had enough years with the ordinance regulating formula businesses. Now with a potential revision to the ordinance before the City Council again, I’m finding myself wanting to review the background. The purpose of this post is to simply document the work we did along with a timeline. It will be cross-posted on the Ojai Post.

This type of ordinance has been passed in many cities and towns (must read!) and been upheld in court. See the June 2003 California Appeals Court decision upholding Coronado’s formula business ordinance. Ojai community members began working on an ordinance in December 2006. The final document was called Formula Retail and Restaurant Establishments and it was submitted to the City of Ojai on April 9, 2007 and signatures have been collected from approximately 700 Ojai voters; enough to be placed on the ballot.

Time Line (2006-present) :

  • April 12, 2006: Letter to Editor urging an Ordinance after hearing about Jersey’s Mike’s opening
  • May 15, 2006: Jersey Mike’s Opens in Ojai
  • September 1, 2006: Jeff Furchtenicht Initiatives his Proposals to the City of Ojai
  • January 9, 2007: Kenley Neufeld spoke at City Council urging an ordinance
  • February 21, 2007: Kenley Neufeld spoke at the Planning Commission on ordinance
  • March 29, 2007: Subway signs lease
  • April 9, 2007: Kenley Neufeld Filed Request for Title and Summary
  • April 10, 2007: Ojai City Council Fails to Pass Urgency Ordinance
  • April 23, 2007: Start collecting Signatures
  • May 1, 2007: Ojai City Council Passes Urgency Ordinance
  • July 18, 2007: Kenley Neufeld spoke at the Planning Commission on City Ordinance
  • August 1, 2007: Kenley Neufeld spoke at the Planning Commission on City Ordinance
  • October 17, 2007: Ojai Planning Commissioners unanimously passed without changes, a permanent ordinance regulating formula businesses in the City of Ojai
  • October 19, 2007: Last Legal Day to Submit Petition (700 signatures collected)
  • October 24, 2007: Formal withdrawal of Citizen’s Initiative
  • November 27, 2007: City Council passes Ordinance #798 regulating formula businesses
  • December 28, 2007: Sec. 10-2.1713. Formula business establishments becomes law
  • October 22, 2009: Ordinance No. 808 amends Section…
  • July-August, 2010: Kenley Neufeld and Scott Eicher, CEO of the Ojai Chamber of Commerce, challenge the procedure for Formula Business Affidavit when the Hummingbird Inn receives a sign permit to become a Best Western. No action taken.
  • June 14, 2011: City Council Member Paul Blatz asks for a review of the ordinance to allow for more public input, particularly as it relates to the Affidavit process and forumla business definition. Referred to Planning Commission.
  • February 1, 2012: Kenley Neufeld, Pat McPherson, and Starr Market attorney speak at Planning Commission meeting on a proposed revision to the established ordinance.
  • April 27, 2012: Ordinance No. 819 amends Section 10-2.1713 to reduce the number of common features from three to two when defining a formula business (4-1 vote in favor)
  • March 12, 2013: Tom Olson, attorney for Terry Starr, owner of Starr Market, requests an amendment to the ordinance. Staff were directed to work on on amendment.
  • May 28, 2013: At the request of two council members, the topic is returning to full Council and Staff are asking City Council to provide direction on any proposed revision to the established ordinance. Background Document

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